Kagran Franco is our incredible Speech Language Pathologist here at La Canada Care Center in Tucson, Arizona. She is VitalStim and NOMS certified and has been practicing for five years. We found ourselves facing a challenge when it came to Dysphagia and Aspiration Precautions in our facility with our residents and staff. In a collaborative effort with our Dietary and Nursing Team, we were able to develop education and a communication form that was understandable for our IDT team.

We as an Interdisciplinary Team were facing a challenge when communicating between Therapy, Nursing and Dietary staff diet textures and understanding risks involved with Dysphagia and aspiration precautions. We noticed a lack of knowledge when it came to diet textures, dysphagia and aspiration precautions.

Dysphagia

Dysphagia refers to difficulty swallowing. There are three phases of swallowing: Oral Phase, Pharyngeal phase and Esophageal phase.

Oral Phase: Refers to when food is in the mouth

Pharyngeal Phase: Refers to the transportation of food from the mouth to the esophagus

Esophageal phase: Refers to the passage of food from the pharynx to the stomach

Aspiration Pneumonia

An inflammation of the lungs and bronchial tubes caused by inhalation of food, liquid, vomit, blood, stomach acid or saliva into the lungs. Aspiration can also occur if stomach contents travel back up from the stomach to the esophagus.

Results

Through our collaborative efforts and education with the Interdisciplinary team, we developed our own Diet communication form. Since implementing and providing in-services with our team, we have seen a significant decrease in diet errors, as well as an increased knowledge in dietary staff and front-line staff.

View poster: Dysphagia Precautions (PDF format)

By Kagran Franco, M.S., CCC-SLP Calias Dull, B.A. Armando Cruz Jr, PTA, TPM
La Canada Care Center, Tucson, AZ